Eagles on the trail of Us star

CRYSTAL Palace are leading the chase to sign Colchester United star Mark Yeates.

Carl Marston

CRYSTAL Palace are leading the chase to sign Colchester United star Mark Yeates.

Flying winger Yeates, who is currently on the comeback trail after an operation on his shoulder, took the Championship by storm during the first three months of the recent season.

It is believed that the Republic of Ireland B international is keen to stay in the second tier of the Football League, following the U's relegation, and there would be no shortage of interested parties.

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Palace boss Neil Warnock could well launch a bid to sign Yeates, who is still under contract with the U's, and Nottingham Forest are also reported to be on the trail of the talented wide-man.

Forest secured promotion to the Championship on the final day of the regular season, and manager Colin Calderwood is on the look-out for a replacement for released winger Kris Commons, who is on the verge of signing for Derby.

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Hot property Yeates scored seven goals in a run of nine games for Colchester last term, starting with a stunning free-kick in the 3-0 win at Preston at the end of August. His trademark free-kicks helped to keep the U's in mid-table until the Autumn, with the highlight being a brace in a 2-2 draw at Blackpool.

However, just as Geraint Williams' men began to fade during the winter months, so Yeates struggled for form and his season was cruelly cut short by a dislocated shoulder during the 2-2 draw against Sheffield United on February 2.

That was Yeates' last game of the campaign. The ex-Tottenham trainee was forced to sit out the final three months, and so was powerless to prevent the U's relegation to League One.

And it might turn out to be his last game for Colchester. Yeates has already proved that he can be an influential player in the Championship, and that is where the 23-year-old is hoping to remain for next season.

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